The couple years in my 20s before I knew Chip, I had a roommate named Susan. We worked at Chili's together and I'm not really sure how we got to be such good friends. Fate threw us together over common closing shifts, I suppose.
Susan was an only child, a Memphis native. She had a lot of extended family in town. I had none. We rented half a duplex in midtown and her family adopted me like an orphan puppy. I attended -- was expected at -- every family picnic, holiday dinner and cousin's birthday party.
I got married in May and Susan in July of 1993. She and her husband moved several times around the southeast and I didn't see much of her over the course of several years. Eventually they settled in St. Louis with their three children. We've kept in touch through email, facebook, occasional trips back and forth. She came to Mom's funeral in St. Louis and once a year their middle son's competitive baseball brings them to Memphis for a tournament.
Susan is truly one of those friends that you can not talk to for six months and pick up right where you left off. I know that sounds cliche but we've lived through a lot together over the last 20 years. You become family. Sisters.
What I, in my middle-aged wisdom, am only beginning to realize about Susan is that she is real in a way that you just don't come across every day. This is probably what attracted me to her in the first place, I was just too young to recognize it or name it. Susan walks the walk. She honestly and completely tries to live her values every single day of her life. But she does it humbly and quietly and in a most inspiring way. She's good people, that Susan is.
Susan is faith in action. She relies on it like an anchor, not just in bad times, but in every day life. She's not a foxhole Christian. It is her breath. And she's not afraid to talk about it if it means telling it how she sees it and how it holds her up. It's not like she's preaching to you. It's not like she's trying to convert you. She believes that her faith saves her in the way that she believes that her breath keeps her alive. And she lives them both the same way. Straightforward. It's how it is. She doesn't question it and she can't fathom why you would either. That's a powerful message. That is, in my opinion, religion serving the purpose it was meant for.
A group of us from Chili's were talking on Facebook recently and it was noted that I went into the bullshit business, a couple others are soul-sucking lawyers, and Susan is a special ed teacher of kids on the autism spectrum. As dedicated as she is to her family and her children, Susan is not a Mother of Martyrdom. She takes care of herself too. Since January, she's lost 36 pounds through healthy eating and exercise. Susan's not one to expect easy answers or a shortcuts. She expects that peace and joy in life will often be directly proportional to the amount of work you put into it.
Which is just to say that if, in fact, the rapture really does take place on Saturday, I'm going to miss you, Susan. This place won't be the same without you.